Michelle Lin

Michelle Lin

Michelle is a UI/UX Designer at Ebay. She designs smooth user experiences for eBay sellers to help them sell their items online.

What is your job description and what are your responsibilities?

I am a UI + UX Designer at eBay on the B2C (Business to Consumer) Selling team. I’m responsible for designing the future of our app/tool, Seller Hub, for SMBs (Small + Medium-sized businesses) as well as large merchants (i.e. Target and Best Buy). It’s my job to empathize and design smooth user experiences for legacy (or older) eBay sellers to help them sell their items. These sellers typically carry an inventory of 1,000+ items and are not accustomed to all the new changes implemented by eBay since we are going through a rebranding. I spend a lot of my time creating various design mocks and prototypes, then conducting testing on actual sellers to see if these new features and designs make sense and are helpful to their businesses.

What career path led you to your current role?

My mom was a web designer in the 1990s — so at a very young age, she taught me the majority of the Adobe Creative Suite. I launched my first website as a kid on my dog. I’ve been in love with design ever since. However, I majored in Earth Science (to appease my parents who work in the petroleum industry) and Cultural Anthropology (by choice) and minored in Sustainable Design at UC Berkeley. My first job out of college was as an Archaeologist. I discovered UI and UX or “Product” Design when we decided to design and develop our own internal database to keep track of the many projects we had as an environmental consulting firm. On a whim, I quit my job, put my savings into an apprenticeship program called Tradecraft, pursued the Product Design track and the rest is history!

Describe your day-to-day schedule.

I live in San Francisco, but I have to commute to San Jose for work. Luckily, we have a free shuttle program. My typical day starts at 7am, which is when I wake up, then I get ready and head over to the bus stop. The commute is usually an hour and a half, however, we are greeted with free breakfast upon arrival. I work on my specific design projects individually, then I link up daily with members of my team, including other designers and product managers, to go over the most up-to-date designs and features we’re looking to implement. After that, it’s lunch and boy do they feed us well at eBay. The day continues with more independent work and ends with a drink at the campus bar. Depending on my workload, I’ll either take the 4pm or 5pm shuttle home. That’s just a typical day in my life.

What programs/tools do you often use? 

Sketch, InVision, Principle, Google Docs, JIRA, Slack, Skype, Lookback.io and Evernote!

Which aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

Designing for a difficult crowd to please. I enjoy a good challenge!

Which aspects of your job do you find most challenging? 

Working with product managers that aren’t completely clear about the scope of work and our limitations as designers in terms of what the engineering team and backend can handle. eBay is a large corporation, and it’s difficult to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

How did you develop the necessary skill-set (e.g. courses, training, activities) to be a UI/UX Designer

My apprenticeship program, Tradecraft, taught me everything I know from visual and user experience design and research to communicating with stakeholders. However, I feel as though being a designer requires empathy in order to understand the mental models of people unlike yourself — AKA users. You need to be able to put yourself in their shoes to understand their process of thinking and problem solving.  

Is there any additional advice you would give students who are interested in becoming a Product Designer?

It’s difficult to figure out what you truly want to do in life, but when you finally realize what you’re passionate about (which can be at any age) — wholeheartedly put your soul into it and work your butt off. There’s no better feeling than waking up every day and going to work to do a job that you absolutely love.